Last night I got a text from a complete stranger.
It read: ‘Hi, it’s Anna. Just looking through my sexy dresses and can’t decide. R we going straight to bedroom and I can wear something naughty? Or u prefer more normal going out dress? Of course I will have coat on top.’
Great! I will be dining out on this one for months.
I could have had a bit of fun with my reply, but I’m sure my honest little ‘Sorry you have the wrong number’ was enough to make her squirm. It would have made me squirm, if I’d misfired a text like that.
Seriously, though, misfiring texts must be a sign of brain overload. (Anna take note).
According to a story in the Times yesterday, we are all far too overstimulated these days – with symptoms such as memory loss, speaking too quickly, slurring our words, being distracted, and feeling really tired all the time. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists one in five of us is unusually tired at any given time.
Texts, twitter and other social media are filling our heads with constant chatter, and our poor old brains just don’t know how to switch off.
The result is a near-permanent state of exhaustion that makes the brain feel like it is constantly misfiring. But we’re also producing a constant flow of stress hormones like adrenaline that make us feel so wired and hyper-alert that we do not even realise how tired we are.
The solution, if you’re one of the wired tired, is to wind down more. Give your brain a break.
It’s easier said than done, but I tried it this week – with a session of Mindfulness Meditation. One hour of silence, music, and gentle words of wisdom while we focused on our breath or a mantra in our heads.
My friend came out of it looking like she’d been on holiday for a week. She’d completely emptied her head – that’s the aim of meditation, but it’s hard to achieve.
For me thoughts had come. But mostly they were creative, like little sparks of light – often food related sparks of light (there was a leek gratin somewhere along the way) - and none had lasted longer than a couple of seconds.
The American Heart Association recommends meditation for the treatment of high blood pressure. Specifically they recommend Transcendental Meditation. But as our meditation leader, Yoga Bowers, says: ‘the many forms of meditation are like different paths leading up the same hill. They all get to the top in the end.’
It seems crazy, though, that we have to book a session of Mindfulness Meditation in order to calm down a head that is overloaded by texts, emails, and tweets. If taking an hour out in a meditation centre sounds too much to squeeze in, why not start by taking an hour off from your phone. Not just when it's charging. Mindfully switch off your phone, laptop, TV, and radio. Unplug your ipod. Lie on your bed and see how long you can focus on your breath going in and out. Then see how refreshed you feel when you get up.